Saturday, 1 December 2007

Raising the Dead

In this scene, the villains raise a creature from beyond the grave. Skrubb looks on from a place of concealment.

They stepped forward and looked down into the coffin.

Skrubb stood on his tiptoes, unable to look away.

A faint smell hung around them, not of death but of great age. The body was wrapped in ancient linen, a tall man with broad shoulders. No details or decorations interrupted the tightly wound bandages which had preserved the corpse for generations. The contrast with the elaborate mummies in the hall down the corridor could not have been more complete.

'Is this him?' Khan spoke softly. 'He doesn't look regal.'

'Silence, show some respect,' Lilyth hissed. 'He doesn't have to look regal, that's the whole point. Morkhet was a humble advisor to kings. Now step back, both of you and give me room.'

She took an ornate glass flask from her belt and tugged the stopper out. Pale vapours spiralled up through the broken windows, into the night sky, mingling with the gently falling rain. Lilyth ignored the drops that fell on her upturned face and splattered inside the coffin. Tilting the flask, she poured the contents onto the body, working quickly along its length from feet to head. Setting the flask aside, she opened the black volume and started to recite its dark words.

Harewood gripped Khan's arm. A great steam was rising from the body and Lilyth's words, whispered in a sibilant tone, seemed nevertheless to echo in the vault and press around them like malignant bats.

Skrubb cringed and whimpered, his eyes widening as something started to move inside the cloud of vapour.

The corpse was sitting up!

Lilyth stepped away from the sarcophagus and the body slowly struggled to its feet, scrambling over the side of the coffin and standing in front of her. The limbs moved with a sinister creaking as ancient sinew and bones awoke and felt their freedom after thousands of years of slumber. Clouds of dust and vapour hung around the terrifying figure like a sinister fog, pulsating with a sandy brown glow that spoke of ancient sunlight beating on the desert.

She set the book aside and stood with arms outstretched, taking the bandaged hands in her own.

'My God!' Khan gasped.

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